Why Red Wings Should Say 'No' to Hossa

timot andarieseCorrespondent IJune 30, 2008

The Red Wings have seven million reasons per year over seven years to say no to the "best free agent" on the market.

Published reports state Hossa, a right wing, wants $7 million per year over seven years, and the truth of matter is the Wings can't afford him. Not without sacrificing players like Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, anyway.

The Wings already have less money available after signing Andreas Lilja to a two-year contract, a move that helps keep the championship squad together.

It's true the Wings are "weak" at right wing, as they have Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Kopecky, Dan Cleary and Darren McCarty (Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler also play the position sometimes). That's why Hossa would be an amazing addition to the first line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but his price tag is entirely too much. Even being a former 40-goal scorer, he's just too much.

Mats Sundin would bring size, knowledge and a new dimension to the team at center. However, that would mean that Draper, Filppula or Franzen would be out of a job at center. What makes Sundin more attractive than Hossa is his price tag is reportedly somewhere around $2 million for his final season—a season in which he hopes to win the Stanley Cup. Sundin is also being pursued by the Rangers.

Darcy Tucker, a right wing also formely of the Leafs (they bought his contract out), would bring to the Wings a guy who can score 20 goals and bring enough aggression to have 100 penalty minutes in two of his last three seasons.

The main downside to Tucker is his plus-minus has been consistently negative over the last three seasons. That problem isn't necessarily Tucker's fault, but he was on the ice and therefore is somewhat accountable for his plus-minus rating. He would be a great addition on the grind line, as well as the penalty kill.

Todd Bertuzzi, who was just released by the Ducks, could return to the Wings and would come at a bargain price. What Bertuzzi would bring to the team is size, strength, leadership and an ability to score. However, he also brings the distraction of the lawsuit (stemming from his infamous hit that paralyzed former Avalanche player Steve Moore).

The Wings need to do something. They need to find a tough right wing to play alongside Draper and Kirk Maltby on the grind line if McCarty has played his last game as a Wing. They could use some more leadership, as well as another goal-scorer.

It would make more sense for the Wings to go after Bertuzzi and Tucker. But if they were to land Sundin, he would fit right in. Nonetheless, Hossa is wishful thinking.